Former Havard dean, professor Bob Overton dies at 84
Robert “Bob” Overton, former associate dean, director of applied ministries, and professor of pastoral ministries at the J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, died on Feb. 20 due to a stroke. He was 84.
Overton was born in Fulton, Miss., on Oct. 8, 1934. His father was a pastor, so he learned from an early age what it meant to lead and serve a congregation. Beginning in 1945, Overton traveled each Saturday to Tupelo, Miss., to play the piano for the beginning and conclusions of his father’s radio ministry program, which was broadcast across the southern U.S. and Mexico.
Overton enrolled at Mississippi College to study theology in 1952. There, he met Joe Ann Little, who would become his wife and partner in ministry for more than six decades. According to Joe Ann, Overton expected nothing out of life except to be able to preach the Gospel. Together, they came to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend Southwestern Seminary, where Overton earned a Bachelor of Divinity (1960), Master of Divinity (1973), and Doctor of Ministry (1983).
Overton began pastoring churches while in seminary, beginning an active preaching ministry that lasted until his death. His pastorates included Redland Baptist Church near Lufkin, Texas, and Rice Temple Baptist Church in Houston.
While pastoring, Overton taught classes adjunctively for Southwestern in its newly formed Houston campus. Upon retiring from Rice Temple Baptist, he became the director of the Houston campus and continued to teach full-time until 2016, when he retired from his role as associate dean.
In addition to his teaching, he preached regularly and served as interim pastor for several Houston area churches, including Uvalde Baptist, Garden Oaks Baptist, and First Baptist Crosby. He also served as the moderator for the Union Baptist Association, a trustee at Houston Baptist University, and a member of the Texas Baptist Executive Board.
While at Southwestern, Overton created an undergraduate degree program for lay pastors in the Houston area to receive the formal education that they needed. He was also a key part of the creation of the undergraduate program for inmates at Darrington Unit, where he taught pastoral ministry courses through the spring 2018 semester.
Overton is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joe Ann; three children; four grandchildren; and four siblings. He was preceded in death by his father, A.M. Overton; mother, Edna; and half-siblings Andy Overton and Lillian Todd.